Social Media and the “Perpetual Project” of Ethos Construction
Borrowing from both classical rhetoric and new media studies, this article contributes to the ongoing project of defining ethos by considering the concept as it applies to social media platforms. The contrasting views of two early Greek thinkers (Aristotle and Isocrates) provide a basis for the consideration of social media profiles as sites of ethos construction. Four key aspects of social media profiles—richness, co-authorship, availability, and indestructibility—are then discussed, which highlight how these profiles are similar though necessarily distinct from other forms of online communication, deserving of analysis as unique rhetorical artifacts. A discussion of the impact of current social media practices on the future of ethos construction in public life, especially in political and legal spheres, then follows.